sherry (n.)
kind of white wine, c.1600, mistaken singular from sherris (1530s), from Spanish (vino de) Xeres "(wine from) Xeres," modern Jerez (Roman (urbs) Caesaris) in Spain, near the port of Cadiz, where the wine was made.
shet
1837 representing U.S. colloquial pronunciation of shut.
Shetland
group of islands north of Scotland, from Old Norse Hjaltland; in reference to a type of pony, 1801; as a breed of sheep, 1794.
shewbread (n.)
1530, Tyndale's word (Exodus xxv:30), based on or influenced by German schaubrot (in Luther), literally "show-bread," translating Latin panes propositiones, from Greek artai enopioi, from Hebrew lechem panim, the 12 loaves placed every Sabbath "before the Lord" on a table beside the altar of incense, from lechem "bread" + panim "face, presence." Old English translations used offring-hlafas.
shewel (n.)
"something hung up to keep wild animals away," mid-13c., perhaps in Old English, from the same source as shy (adj.); a derivative of the verb which in German became scheuen "to scare."
Shia (n.)
also Shiah, 1620s, a collective name for one of the two great Muslim sects, from Arabic shi'ah "partisans, followers, sect, company, faction" (from sha'a "to follow"). This is the proper use, but it commonly is used in English to mean "a Shiite." In Arabic, shi'ah is the name of the sect, shiya'iy is a member of the sect.

The branch of Islam that recognizes Ali, Muhammad's son-in-law, as the lawful successor of the Prophet; the minority who believed, after the death of the Prophet, that spiritual and political authority followed his family line, as opposed to the Sunni, who took Abu Bakr as the political leader of the community. The Arabic name is short for Shi'at Ali "the party of Ali."
shiatsu (n.)
1967, from Japanese, literally "finger-pressure."
shibboleth (n.)
late 14c., the Hebrew word shibboleth, meaning "flood, stream," also "ear of corn;" in Judges xii:4-6. It was the password used by the Gileadites to distinguish their own men from fleeing Ephraimites, because Ephraimites could not pronounce the -sh- sound. Hence the figurative sense of "watchword" (first recorded 1630s), which evolved by 1862 to "outmoded slogan still adhered to." A similar test-word was cicera "chick pease," used by the Italians to identify the French (who could not pronounce it correctly) during the massacre called the Sicilian Vespers (1282).
shield (n.)
Old English scield, scild "shield; protector, defense," literally "board," from Proto-Germanic *skelduz (cognates: Old Norse skjöldr, Old Saxon skild, Middle Dutch scilt, Dutch schild, German Schild, Gothic skildus), from *skel- "divide, split, separate," from PIE root *(s)kel- (1) "to cut" (see scale (n.1)). Perhaps the notion is of a flat piece of wood made by splitting a log. Shield volcano (1911) translates German Schildvulkan (1910). Plate tectonics sense is from 1906, translating Suess (1888).
shield (v.)
Old English gescildan, from the root of shield (n.). Related: Shielded; shielding. Compare German scilden.
shift (v.)
Old English sciftan, scyftan "arrange, place, order," also "divide, partition; distribute, allot, share," from Proto-Germanic *skiftan (cognates: Old Norse skipta "to divide, change, separate," Old Frisian skifta "to decide, determine, test," Dutch schiften "to divide, turn," German schichten "to classify," Schicht "shift"). This is said to be related to the source of Old English sceadan "divide, separate," (see shed (v.)).

c.1200 as "to dispose; make ready; set in order, control," also intransitive, "take care of oneself." From c.1300 as "to go, move, depart; move (someone or something), transport." Sense of "to alter, to change" appeared mid-13c. (compare shiftless). Meaning "change the gear setting of an engine" is from 1910; to shift gears in the figurative sense is from 1961. Related: Shifted; shifting.
shift (n.1)
c.1300, "a movement, a beginning," from shift (v.). This is the word in to make shift "make efforts" (mid-15c.). Sense of "change, alteration" is from 1560s. Sense of "means to an end" is from 1520s; hence "an expedient." Meaning "mechanism for changing gear in a motor vehicle" is recorded from 1914. Typewriter shift key is from 1893; shift-lock is from 1899.

Meaning "period of working time" (originally in a mine) is attested from 1809, with older sense "relay of horses" (1708); perhaps with sense influenced by a North Sea Germanic cognate word (such as North Frisian skeft "division, stratum," skaft "one of successive parties of workmen"). Similar double senses of "division" and "relay of workers" exist in Swedish skift, German schicht.
shift (n.2)
"body garment, underclothing," 1590s, originally used alike of men's and women's pieces, probably from shift (n.1), which was commonly used in reference to a change of clothes. In 17c., it began to be used as a euphemism for smock, and was itself displaced, for similar reasons of delicacy, in 19c. by chemise.
shifter (n.)
1550s, "one who shifts" in any way; agent noun from shift (v.). As a mechanical contrivance, from 1869; specifically of the gear-changing mechanism in a motor-vehicle, from 1910.
shiftless (adj.)
"wanting in resources or energy and ability to shift for oneself," 1580s, from shift (n.1) in the sense "resources" + -less. Related: Shiftlessly; shiftlessness.
shifty (adj.)
1560s, "able to manage for oneself, fertile in expedients," from shift (n.1) in secondary sense of "dodge, trick, artifice" + -y (2). Meaning "habitually using dishonest methods, characterized by trickery" first recorded 1837. In a sense "prone to shifting," of the wind, used from 1884. Related: Shiftily; shiftiness.
shih-tzu (n.)
also shih tzu, breed of small long-haired dog, 1921, from Chinese shizigou, from shi "lion" + zi "son" + gou "dog."
Shiism (n.)
1883, from Shia + -ism.
shiitake (n.)
1877, from Japanese, from shii, name of several types of evergreen trees, + take "mushroom."
Shiite (n.)
1728, "a member of the Shia sect of Islam," from Shia + -ite (1), Latin-derived suffix denoting "follower."
Shikoku
Japanese island, literally "four provinces," from shi "four" + koku "province."
shiksa (n.)
"gentile girl," in Jewish culture, dismissive or disparaging, 1892, from Yiddish shikse, from Hebrew siqsa, from sheqes "a detested thing" + fem. suffix -a.
shill (n.)
"one who acts as a decoy for a gambler, auctioneer, etc.," 1916, probably originally circus or carnival argot, probably a shortened form of shillaber (1913) with the same meaning, origin unknown. The verb is attested from 1914. Related: Shilled; shilling.
shillelagh (n.)
"cudgel," 1772, earlier, "oak wood used to make cudgels" (1670s), from Shillelagh, town and barony, famous for its oaks, in County Wicklow, Ireland. The name is literally "seeds (or descendants) of Elach, from Irish siol "seed."
shilling (n.)
Old English scilling, a coin consisting of a varying number of pence (on the continent, a common scale was 12 pennies to a shilling, 20 shillings to a pound), from Proto-Germanic *skillingoz- (cognates: Old Saxon, Danish, Swedish, Old Frisian, Old High German skilling, Old Norse skillingr, Dutch schelling, German Schilling, Gothic skilliggs).

Some etymologists trace this to the root *skell- "to resound, to ring," and others to the root *(s)kel- (1) "to cut" (perhaps via sense of "shield" from resemblance or as a device on coins; see shield (n.)). The ending may represent the diminutive suffix -ling, or Germanic -ing "fractional part" (compare farthing). Old Church Slavonic skulezi, Polish szeląg, Spanish escalin, French schelling, Italian scellino are loan-words from Germanic.
shilly-shally (v.)
"to vacillate," 1782, from adverbial expression to stand shilly-shally (1703), earlier shill I, shall I (1700), a fanciful reduplication of shall I? (compare wishy-washy, dilly-dally, etc.). From 1734 as an adjective, by 1755 as a noun. Related: Shilly-shallying (1816).
Shiloh
village on the west bank of the Jordan River, perhaps from an alteration of Hebrew shalo "to be peaceful." The American Civil War battle (April 6-7, 1862) was so called for being fought around the Shiloh church in Tennessee, which was destroyed in the battle.
shim (n.)
1723, a Kentish word of unknown origin. Originally a piece of iron fitted to a plow for scraping soil; meaning "thin slip of wood to fill up a space or raise a level" is from 1860.
shim (v.)
"to wedge up a surface by means of a shim," 1877, from shim (n.). Related: Shimmed; shimming.
shimmer (n.)
"a tremulous light," 1821, from shimmer (v.).
shimmer (v.)
Old English scimerian "to glitter, shimmer, glisten, shine," related to (perhaps a frequentative of) scimian "to shine," from Proto-Germanic *skim- (cognates: Swedish skimra, Dutch schemeren "to glitter," German schimmern), from PIE root *skai- "to gleam, to shine" (see shine (v.). Related: Shimmered; shimmering.
shimmy (v.)
"do a suggestive dance," 1918, perhaps via phrase shake the shimmy, which is possibly from shimmy (n.), a U.S. dialectal form of chemise (mistaken as a plural; compare shammy) first recorded 1837. Or perhaps the verb is related to shimmer (v.) via a notion of glistening light. Transferred sense of "vibration of a motor vehicle" is from 1925. Related: Shimmied; shimmying. As a noun, the name of a popular, fast, suggestive pre-flapper dance, by 1919.
shin (n.)
Old English scinu "shin, fore part of the lower leg," from Proto-Germanic *skino "thin piece" (cognates: Dutch scheen, Old High German scina, German Schienbein "shin, shinbones"), from PIE root *skei- "to cut, split" (see shed (v.)). Shin splints is attested from 1930.
shin (v.)
"to climb by using arms and legs" (originally a nautical word), 1829, from shin (n.). Related: Shinned; shinning.
Shin Bet (n.)
Israeli security service, 1964, from Modern Hebrew shin + bet, names of the initial letters of sherut bitahon (kelali) "(general) security service."
shindig (n.)
"dance, party, lively gathering," 1871, probably from shindy "a spree, merrymaking" (1821), also "a game like hockey;" perhaps from shinty, name of a Scottish game akin to hockey (1771), earlier shinny (see shinny (n.)).
shine (v.)
Old English scinan "shed light, be radiant, be resplendent, iluminate," of persons, "be conspicuous" (class I strong verb; past tense scan, past participle scinen), from Proto-Germanic *skinan (cognates: Old Saxon and Old High German skinan, Old Norse and Old Frisian skina, Dutch schijnen, German scheinen, Gothic skeinan "to shine, appear"), from PIE root *skai- (2) "to gleam, shine, flicker" (cognates: Sanskrit chaya "brilliance, luster; shadow," Greek skia "shade," Old Church Slavonic sinati "to flash up, shine," Albanian he "shadow"). Transitive meaning "to black (boots)" is from 1610s. Related: Shined (in the shoe polish sense), otherwise shone; shining.
shine (n.)
1520s, "brightness," from shine (v.). Meaning "polish given to a pair of boots" is from 1871. Derogatory meaning "black person" is from 1908 (perhaps from glossiness of skin or, on another guess, from frequent employment as shoeshines). Phrase to take a shine to "fancy" is American English slang from 1839, perhaps from shine up to "attempt to please as a suitor." Shiner is from late 14c. as "something that shines;" sense of "black eye" first recorded 1904.
shingle (n.1)
"thin piece of wood," c.1200, scincle, from Late Latin scindula (also the source of German Schindel), altered (by influence of Greek schidax "lath" or schindalmos "splinter") from Latin scandula "roof tile," from scindere "to cleave, split," from PIE root *sked- "to split." Meaning "small signboard" is first attested 1842. Sense of "woman's short haircut" is from 1924; the verb meaning "to cut the hair so as to give the impression of overlapping shingles" is from 1857.
shingle (n.2)
"loose stones on a seashore," 1510s, probably related to Norwegian singl "small stones," or North Frisian singel "gravel," both said to be echoic of the sound of water running over pebbles.
shingle (v.)
"cover with shingles" (of houses), 1560s, from shingle (n.). Related: Shingled; shingling.
shingles (n.)
"inflammatory disease of the skin," late 14c., from Medieval Latin cingulus (loan-translation of Greek zoster "girdle"), variant of Latin cingulum "girdle," from cingere "to gird" (see cinch (n.)). The inflammation often extends around the middle of the body, like a girdle.
shinny (v.)
"to climb a rope, pole, etc.," 1888, from use of shins and ankles to do so; see shin (n.). Earlier simply shin (1829). Related: Shinnied; shinnying.
shinny (n.)
also shinney, primitive form of hockey, 1670s, perhaps from Gaelic sinteag "a bound, a leap." OED suggests origin from shin ye "the cry used in the game."
Shinola (n.)
brand of shoe polish, by 1904, from shine + -ola.
shinplaster (n.)
also shin-plaster, piece of paper soaked in vinegar and used to treat sore legs, from shin (n.) + plaster (n.). In U.S. history, jocularly or as a term of abuse for "devalued low-denomination paper currency" (1824).
Shinto (n.)
native religious system of Japan, 1727, from Chinese shin tao "way of the gods," from shin "god, gods, spirit" + tao "way, path, doctrine." Related: Shintoism.
shiny (adj.)
1580s, from shine (n.) + -y (2). As a noun meaning "a shiny object" (also "money") from 1856. Related: Shininess.
ship (n.)
Old English scip "ship, boat," from Proto-Germanic *skipam (cognates: Old Norse, Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Gothic skip, Danish skib, Swedish skepp, Middle Dutch scip, Dutch schip, Old High German skif, German Schiff), "Germanic noun of obscure origin" [Watkins]. Others suggest perhaps originally "tree cut out or hollowed out," and derive it from PIE root *skei- "to cut, split."

Now a vessel of considerable size, adapted to navigation; the Old English word was used for small craft as well, and definitions changed over time; in 19c., distinct from a boat in having a bowsprit and three masts, each with a lower, top, and topgallant mast. French esquif, Italian schifo are Germanic loan-words.

Phrase ships that pass in the night is from Longfellow's poem "Elizabeth" in "Tales of a Wayside Inn" (1863). Figurative use of nautical runs a tight ship (i.e., one that does not leak) is attested from 1965.
ship (v.)
c.1300, "to send or transport (merchandise, people) by ship; to board a ship; to travel by ship, sail, set sail," also figurative, from ship (n.). Old English scipian is attested only in the senses "take ship, embark; be furnished with a ship." Transferred to other means of conveyance (railroad, etc.) from 1857, originally American English. Related: Shipped; shipping.